I went to buy jeans today.
Years ago buying a new pair of jeans took all of five minutes. I've been wearing the same brand (Levi's) forever because nothing else fits me the way I like. I've tried some other brands in the past that I didn't like much, with some exceptions that never stayed in production long, and always came back to the Levi's.
Since the last few pairs of jeans I bought were a little inconsistent with the inseam length, I chose to try on the jeans before I bought them this time. And good thing I did. I tried on eight pairs of jeans with waist sizes marked 33 to 36 and inseam measurements marked from 30 to 34 to find three pairs that were *actually* the size I wanted (34/32).
So I did a little research as to what the hell happened. Seems the days when I could just buy my size by the number and trust that they would, in fact, be the size they claimed to be ended when the jeans sold in Canada stopped being made in Edmonton by well-paid labour in decent conditions. They stopped making jeans in Edmonton in 2004. Now, thanks to NAFTA, Levi's sold in Canada are made in Mexico (which is still better than the ones in the States, which are made who knows where these days.)
While the made-in-Mexico jeans I bought a few years ago did have the problem with the inseam length being inconsistent, they weren't anywhere near as bad as the ones I got today. I have no doubt this further decline in quality has everything to with Levi's getting in to bed with Wal-Mart in 2007. Wal-Mart bullies their suppliers into cheaper and cheaper manufacturing, on the threat of utterly killing formerly reliable brands by no longer carrying them, so companies with formerly decent products get forced to make their things cheaper and crappier and go further afield for cheap labour just to keep the Wal-Mart distribution channel open.